Friday, September 21, 2018

Covering Wayanad medically. Day 3 at Thrissilery.

Was woken up by Saji Kumar at a half past 5 and had gone through the chores. The two of us were lucky to have completed the morning ablutions early because the motor had developed a problem and Maman had to wait a long while to get the water, post defect rectification. We, thus, left for the Thirunelli temple by a half past 7 and were at the temple by a half past 8.

We'd ordered for a puja in the names of Muthachhan, Ammachi, dad and mom. The ancient temple gave a soothing effect and the local Devaswom authorities, along with a few political leaders, had given us a lot of attention being PN Panicker's son and grandson! Breakfast of idlis , chutney and sambar was had at the restaurant, smack across the temple.

We, then, proceeded to the Government Higher Secondary School at Thrissilery which was the venue for the day's camp. Thrissilery has a Shiva temple that's a popular shrine for the pilgrims. Legend has it that those who offer rituals to their ancestors at Thirunelli are aware that the proceedings are incomplete, without making an offering at the historic Shiva temple. The following were the additional attractions:-

   (a) Popular for its unique architectural proportions and the quiet and secluded ambiance.
   (b) A small shrine of Jal Durga, located in a water body, that originates from the Papanashini river
         near Thirunelli exists here.
   (c) Locals believe that the shrine was installed by Lord Parasurama.

The Government Higher Secondary School has a total of about 1,000 students and has many facilities, including smart classrooms. We quickly went through the short public meeting, presided over by the local MLA, Mr. Kelu, who was there earlier than us! The medical camp proceedings began, on the dot, by a half past 10. After initiating the registration counter, I'd taken up position at the initial examination (BP and weight observations) counter to manage the crowd. Ashna and Bindu were the health workers that were recording. Came across many cancer affected patients and a sizeable crowd of adivasis. We had a record number of patients viz. 263! A new doctor, Ritwik, had joined Pankaj ji and Kavya to inspect the patients, today.

The medicine counter was manned by the ever-efficient Sofia and soon, we're able to clear the knotty crowd from the initial inspection counter and send them across to the doctors, for further inspection. And today, too, the doctors had confirmed that there weren't any major illnesses bothering the people of Wayanad. However, the chewing of tobacco, by many, seems to be taking its toll.

The camp wound up by a half past 3 after which we had lunch at Majid-Subeida's dhabha and just before dispersing, Vasanthakumari teacher, the library-in-charge, came and invited us to attend the programme organised by her team. It was a nice and small interaction but what was sadly discernible was the bad upbringing of a few children assembled there.

The medical camps conducted by the Foundation at Wayanad, thus, came to a close.

We made a quick retreat to the Forest Inspection Bungalow, finished our packing and after thanking the entire team that worked to make the camp, a roaring success and the talk of the town, set off on our return trip. The time was 1725 hrs! I travelled along with Dr. Pankaj Srivastava and Rajeev Srivastava in their car and regaled them with anecdotes from my naval life. We'd shaped our return via Kozhikode but realised our error - the roads were really bad on this stretch. Pankaj ji and his brother, bought spices for their personal use from the Khadi Board outlet at Kalpetta.

Dinner was at Thamarasserry, at the same hotel where we'd stayed during the 'Yatra'. At Kozhikode, Rajeev had picked up a few sweets after ascertaining mine and Lekha's peferences from Maman ....damn sweet of him!


Thoroughly enjoyed the outing, understood the nuances of a medical camp and in the process, picked up quite a few friends.

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